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Indonesia promises to address forest destruction

Indonesia’s new president sets himself a major challenge to clean-up bribery and corruption in the forestry industry.

By Patrick Anderson

In late November, after a month in his new job, Indonesia’s president Joko Widido (Jokowi), travelled to Riau Province, Sumatra, to see for himself the forest destruction that causes smoke and haze to blanket Sumatra, Malaysia and Singapore.

Indonesia needs political reform, not just legal prosecution, to eradicate corruption in palm oil plantations

The article looks at the links between oil palm business and public officials. It comes to the conclusion that the prosecution of corrupt officials is failing to stop corruption by elected officials, and that reform of electoral funding laws is needed so that politicians and political parties do not have to reply on bribes or oligarchs to fund their election campaigns.

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Indonesia: palm oil comany and army kill villager as land conflict escalates in PT AP in Jambi, Sumatra

In a further tragic escalation of the long running land conflict between palm oil developer PT Asiatic Persada and the local Batin Sembilan peoples, also referred to as Suku Anak Dalam, soldiers from the Indonesian army took a villager into custody in the company premises last week after which he was tortured and brutalised. When others protested, five of them were also rounded up, arrested and beaten up. Meanwhile other protesting villagers were chased away by the army repeatedly firing off their weapons.

Palm oil company efforts to slow deforestation not sustainable

Palm oil companies have long been criticised for their damaging clearance, of both forests and peatlands, which contributes significantly to global warming. It is estimated that Indonesia, where deforestation is still increasing despite Presidential promises to halt it, is the world’s third highest emitter of green house gases. This is mainly due to large scale land clearance for palm oil plantations, pulp and paper ventures and transmigration.  Considering the ineffectiveness of Government efforts, getting companies to set aside forest and peatland areas within their concessions seems like a sensible way to limit the problem. But, given that most concessions are handed out by governments without first recognising and securing the lands of local communities,what are the implications of these set-asides for the rights and livelihoods of forest peoples?